Administrators handling hybrid environments are tasked with managing both on-premises environments with traditional Windows Server management tools and cloud environments, such as Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). To handle the resources on-premises as an extension of Azure cloud IaaS environment, Microsoft presented a new solution, Azure Arc that can help bring the on-premises workloads into the management capacity of Microsoft Azure. Azure Arc offers simplified management, faster app development, and consistent Azure services to work with multi-cloud, on-premises, and edge environments and help consolidate control of all resources and help to streamline control of servers.
The advantages of Azure Arc are:
- Azure arc eliminates the need to use numerous tools and dashboards which can be inefficient and inconvenient. Instead, it allows in consolidating management of resources under Azure Dashboard for Unified management across cloud, on-premises, and edge.
- Azure offers unlimited scalability by harnessing the power of cloud automation working with Azure Arc. We can scale up new instances as well as scale workloads in lesser time based on capacity.
- Azure security with the likes of Azure Security Center and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) protecting workloads is extended to on-premises and edge workloads.
Azure Arc simplifies governance and management by offering a stable multi-cloud and on-premises management platform. Azure Arc also enables us to manage entire environment by projecting existing non-Azure, on-premises, or other-cloud resources into Azure Resource Manager (ARM), Manage virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, and databases as if they are running in Azure and use familiar Azure services and management capabilities, regardless of where they reside.
Azure Arc allows us to manage the following resource types hosted outside of Azure:
- Servers – both physical and virtual machines running Windows or Linux.
- Kubernetes clusters – supporting multiple Kubernetes distributions.
- Databases (Azure data services) – Azure SQL database and PostgreSQL Hyperscale services.
AZURE ARC-ENABLED SERVERS
Azure Arc-enabled servers enables to manage Windows and Linux physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure, on corporate network, or other cloud provider. This management experience is designed to be in harmony with how you manage native Azure VMs. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. Each connected machine has a Resource ID enabling the machine to be included in a resource group.
Azure Arc-enabled servers provides:
- The flexibility to work for both Linux and Windows, Works with virtual machines (VMs), and other clouds and is also Domain-agnostic.
- At a management level, it has a searchable inventory at scale, offering the same server management experience across environments and consistent VM Extensions for agent management.
- For Governance and security, it has built-in Azure policies for servers, server security baselines with an ability to view and search for noncompliant servers across environments and advanced data security.
- A role-based access control with Central IT–based, at-scale operations and is Integrated with Azure Lighthouse for managed service providers.
AZURE ARC-ENABLED KUBERNETES
With Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes, businesses can configure Kubernetes clusters either inside or outside Microsoft Azure. When administrators connect their Kubernetes clusters into Azure Arc, administrators can see the K8s clusters in the Azure Resource Manager like a native Azure resource, including ARM ID. The Kubernetes resources are then placed in the Azure subscription and resource group and can be configured with tags and other metadata like other native Azure resources.
Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes provides:
- Flexibility in terms of container platform of client’s choice, Out-of-the-box support for most CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation)–certified Kubernetes and Use across dev, test, and production Kubernetes clusters.
- At a management level, it helps Inventory, organize, and tag Kubernetes clusters, deploy apps and configuration as code using GitOps and Monitor and Manage at scale with policy-based deployment.
- Built-in Kubernetes Gatekeeper policies to apply consistent security configuration at scale, consistent cluster extensions for Azure monitoring, governance, security services, and more.
- Another significant benefit with Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes clusters is implementing Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for Kubernetes with Central IT-based at-scale operations and Management by workload owner based on access privileges.
AZURE ARC-ENABLED DATA SERVICES
Azure Arc makes it possible to run Azure data services on-premises, at the edge, and in public clouds using Kubernetes and the infrastructure of your choice. Currently, the following Azure Arc-enabled data services are available:
- SQL Managed Instance
- PostgreSQL Hyperscale.
The benefits of Azure Arc-enabled data services are:
- Azure Arc-enabled data services such as Azure Arc-enabled SQL managed instance and Azure Arc-enabled PostgreSQL Hyperscale receive updates on a frequent basis including servicing patches and new features and hence always stays current.
- Database-as-a-service benefits including automation for setting up high availability and elastic scaling without application downtime. This capability gives data workloads an additional boost on capacity optimization, using unique scale-out reads and writes.
- Unified management with familiar tools such as the Azure portal, Azure Data Studio, and the Azure CLI and a modern cloud billing model for hybrid infrastructure.
- Azure Arc has a self-service provisioning and provides other cloud benefits such as fast deployment and automation at scale. Thanks to Kubernetes-based orchestration, you can deploy a database in seconds using either GUI or CLI tools.
In conclusion, Azure Arc is a great tool and solution from Microsoft to help consolidate the many control planes that often exist when dealing with cloud, on-premises, and edge environments. Using Azure Arc will help to bring all these resources under one umbrella of control and automation tools.